Bike-sharing sector evolving and Government will engage operators and users, says Janil Puthucheary

The latest Land Transport Masterplan, which will be launched in 2019, will take into account the bike-sharing sector. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The dockless bike-sharing sector is evolving and the Government will continue to engage operators, consumers and users who have been "inconvenienced by the unintended consequences", said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary on Wednesday (July 4).

Referring to the sudden exit of operator oBike on June 25, Dr Janil said the Government will study the industry, engage stakeholders and "take action as need be".

The Chinese-founded oBike owes its users US$4.6 million (S$6.3 million) in deposits and has yet to completely recover the 70,000 idle bikes strewn around the island.

Speaking to the media during a visit to Mandai Depot, Dr Janil said the latest Land Transport Masterplan, which will be launched next year, will take into account the bike-sharing sector.

"Certainly the type of business models and the type of operators that come in to run these kinds of services are going to be a very important part... we will be studying the space and developing models of regulations and models of business to best serve our needs," he said.

The Land Transport Masterplan is updated every five years and charts the initiatives for Singapore's land transport in the next 10 to 20 years.

Dr Janil also said that while the masterplan will look to increase the density, reach and accessibility of public transport, it will also examine how to integrate buses and trains with other first- and last-mile options such as bicycle-sharing and ride-hailing services.

He called for Singaporeans to get involved, by coming up with ideas and helping the Government to design a public transport network that is convenient, accessible and easy to use.

On Wednesday, Dr Janil, together with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, toured the first of 91 trains that will be used for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), which will open progressively from 2019.

Dr Janil said the TEL was announced in the 2008 Land Transport Masterplan, and was a decade in the making - testament to the effort and planning required for such a project.

He said the TEL train cars each have a different colour scheme, so users can easily identify which carriage they are in, and move to the one they prefer. Also, spaces set aside for wheelchair users on the train are located in areas where it will be easy for them to access lifts and ramps when they alight at stations.

"It is full of little features, which (we) hope to make the ride much more inclusive and much easier," Dr Janil said.

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